Brent Council plans to ban new takeaway shops near secondary schools and colleges
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
Takeaway shops serving fatty unhealthy food could be banned from opening near secondary schools and colleges in Brent as the council battles to curb child obesity in the borough.
The measures are being drawn up in the light of shocking figures which show that 11 per cent of under fives and 24pc of 12-year-olds in the borough are obese.
The proposals by the council, which were put before a planning committee last week, will prohibit any fast food outlet from setting up shop within 400 metres of an 11-plus education establishment. The number of takeaways in any town or neighbourhood will be capped at six per cent.
A public consultation into the plans will be rolled out after the council elections in May, and if residents give them the green light they will come into force next year.
Cllr Krupesh Hirani, the council’s lead member for adults and social care, said: “Controlling the number of fast food outlets directly addresses the link between obesity and the availability of junk food. The aim is to encourage our children and other residents to make healthier choices and increase the diversity of retail and food outlets.
“The council is already doing a lot on this issue, such as offering free swimming to under-16s during school holidays, free tennis for young people and encouraging healthy lifestyles among families with young children. It’s not going to be easy but we are committed to doing everything we can to achieve these goals.”
Brent is not the first council to ban takeaway shops from opening near schools.
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Waltham Forest in east London became the first local authority to do so in 2010, with other councils, including Islington following suit.
Welcoming the move, Sarah Cox, a health campaigner who lives in Harlesden, said: “There are far too many takeaway shops in the borough and not only do they contribute to bad health, they also create litter.
“The council are doing a positive thing but I do hope they are doing all they can to ensure children are being given nutritional lunches at school and that all those who are entitled to free school meals receive them.”
However a teacher in Brent, who wants to remain anonymous, said it might not make much of a difference. He said: “Although it’s a good initiative, it seems very unworkable because there are lots of existing shops that can’t be closed down.”
“It’s worrying because these shops are cheap, accessible and very unhealthy and the health implications won’t kick until these children are in their 40s.
“These measures are in danger of being a PR stunt unless the council give it real teeth and close down takeaway shops.”